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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 007793

SIPDIS


DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EUR/SE, EUR/PD, NEA/PD, DRL
JCS PASS J-5/CDR S. WRIGHT


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2003


THIS REPORT WILL PRESENT A TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER
THREE THEMES:


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION


HEADLINES


MASS APPEAL
Four conditions for the Annan Plan - Aksam
Saddam Under Interrogation - Sabah
Denktash: We are disappointed by the US - Turkiye
Police capture an Al-Qaeda terrorist - Milliyet
US asked Turkey to impose visa requirement on Iran -
Hurriyet
Turkish `brain' of Al-Qaeda arrested - Sabah


OPINION MAKERS
Weston: Annan Plan is the only plan - Cumhuriyet
Weston and Verheugen Pressure Ankara for Solution - Radikal
France divided on the headscarf debate - Radikal
US Forces attack Iraqi civilians in Samarra - Yeni Safak
PM Erdogan Calls on Denktash to Change His Advisors - Yeni
Safak
Michael Moore: We created Saddam - Cumhuriyet
US Pressures Iran Through Turkey - Zaman


BRIEFING


Cyprus: US Special Cyprus Coordinator Thomas Weston, who is
on the island for talks with Turkish Cypriot leader Denktas
and political party leaders, urged Turks and Greeks to begin
negotiations as soon as possible so that the Annan Plan can
be taken to a referendum. Denktas complained to Weston that
the US is supporting Greek Cypriot views. Weston will
proceed to Ankara on Friday for talks with MFA officials.
Prime Minister Erdogan, in Uzbekistan for an official visit,
outlined some possible adjustments to the Annan Plan. The
exchange of property on both sides is unacceptable,
according to Erdogan. `There is no need to provoke people
after 29 years,' he said. The existence of two sovereign
states must be clarified in the plan, he added. Erdogan
noted that the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Cyprus is
an issue to be discussed. Turkey's EU membership should not
be linked primarily to a solution on Cyprus, Erdogan
stressed. Dailies expect Ankara to unveil its new peace
plan for Cyprus once a new government is formed in the
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).


Ambassador Edelman meets the Minister of Interior: US
Ambassador Eric Edelman said during his meeting with
Minister of Interior Abdulkadir Aksu on Thursday that Turkey
should require a visa from nationals of its eastern
neighbors to ensure better control of borders. Edelman also
offered Aksu explosives training for Turkish police by
American experts. Edelman urged Aksu to enhance the
security of US facilities in Turkey. Aksu said his
government would arrive at a decision on the Iran visa issue
after evaluating the US suggestion.


US Religious Freedom report: The annual US report on
international religious freedom, submitted to the Congress
on Thursday, listed Turkey among the countries that have
discriminatory laws or policies against certain religions.
The report said that Turkey restricts the freedom of non-
Muslims such as Christians and the Bahai, and notes that
freedom of expression for some Muslims in Turkey is also
restricted, especially with regard to use of the headscarf
in public areas.


Turkey, Iran to cooperate on education: Turkey's minister of
education, Huseyin Celik, has reached an agreement with his
Iranian counterpart, Murtaza Haji, on a technical, cultural
and educational exchange program, "Milliyet" reports.
Analysts believe that exchange programs with a country that
applies religious norms in education could cause problems
for Turkey in the future.


EDITORIAL OPINION:
Iraq; EU-Turkey-Cyprus
"The End of Saddam"
Coskun Kirca noted in the mass appeal Aksam (12/19): "The
capture of Saddam Hussein does not necessarily mean the
establishment of stability in Iraq. The Baath Party of Iraq
has a strong network in the Sunni population and is capable
of conducting attacks against coalition forces. There is
also a cultural aspect of this within the Arab community --
Arabs never want to see their leaders as losers, nor accept
their failures. It is for sure that Saddam was one of the
most brutal dictators in the world. He ordered more than
400,000 political opponents to be murdered, not to mention
the fact that he gassed his own people. Nevertheless, at
least some Iraqi Arabs will continue to see him as a hero
even if he is given a fair trial. . Now the main issue is
how to conduct Saddam's trial. The UN-sponsored
international court is not the best option, due to Arab
sentiment and local sensitivities in this region. The IGC-
proposed Iraqi tribunal for political crimes is the most
appropriate option taking into account the situation in
Iraq."


"Turkey Should Be Given a Date in the Spring"
Ferai Tinc urged in mass appeal Hurriyet (12/19): "The
recent EU summit ended in a fiasco by failing to implement
the EU expansion policy. Yet there is another development
which is of direct concern for Turkey. The six members of
the EU asked the Commission not to expand the Union's
budget, which was scheduled for the 2007-2013 period. This
effort will only lead to a cut in funds and lowering of
spending. All of this indicates the real reason for the
EU's unwillingness to give Turkey an encouraging message
about the membership calendar. . The upcoming EU summit in
spring 2004 is the most critical one. It is critical not
only for Turkey, but for Cyprus as well. The EU is waiting
for a settlement to the Cyprus issue. But the EU should
also give a negotiation date to Turkey at the spring 2004
summit. Otherwise, the whole EU-Turkey-Cyprus process will
be very negatively affected."


EDELMAN

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